Published: Fri, February 22, 2019
Science | By Michele Flores

Cyclone Oma: Gigantic waves to smash Aussie coast

Cyclone Oma: Gigantic waves to smash Aussie coast

A CYCLONE watch has been issued from Bundaberg to Ballina including Brisbane, the Gold and Sunshine coasts as Cyclone Oma continues its ominous approach to the southeast Queensland.

"The winds will tend to increase a little bit and hence there is the potential for some damaging wind gusts in the order of 90-100 kilometres per hour".

Cyclone Oma is storming towards the coast.

Gale-force winds were expected to hit coastal parts of Queensland from Friday, particularly the islands and exposed coasts.

As the category 2 system sits around 950km off the coast of Brisbane, tracking southwesterly at about 10km/h, uncertainty remains on what the cyclone will do, with the Bureau of Meteorology expecting impacts to be felt along the coast even if the cyclone does not cross land.

Ms Pattie said southern Capricornia would see some high tides between half a metre and a metre above the highest tide of the year as well as coastal inundation and erosion.

The Bureau of Meteorology this morning downgraded the storm to a Category 1 and cancelled cyclone watch, but still warned Australians to brace for wild weather.

The Sunshine Coast council was "preparing for the worst" with the weather event expecting to pull down power lines. These sandbags are available for collection at depots at Darra, Morningside, Newmarket SES Depot and the Zillmere-North Depot.

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This weather may result in a number of hazards, including beach erosion, fallen trees and local or wider flooding.

Other parts of the country are likely to get wet on Friday, with rain from Taranaki down to Kapiti, and scattered showers over eastern parts of the South Island as southerlies develop behind a front there. This has triggered a cyclone watch to be issued for northern New South Wales and south-east Queensland.

The Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and Coolangatta were warned to beware of anomalous high tides, risky surf and gale-force winds expected to occur throughout the weekend.

While it is unusual for a cyclone to track this far south, it is not unprecedented.

"Forecast certainly is shaping up to see the most likely scenario that Cyclone Oma will approach the cost this weekend, and a coastal crossing can not be ruled out at this stage", Gunn added.

The longer the storm lingers, the more damage it is likely to cause as waves as high as six metres have been seen along the shore.

"The heaviest rainfall will be concentrated further north at the Sunshine Coast and Fraser Island, however that is heavily dependent on what the cyclone will do".

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